Fri, 22 Jan 2021

Razorbacks look to remain undefeated against Texas-Arlington

Field Level Media
02 Dec 2020, 14:05 GMT+10

If nothing else, Arkansas has proven in its first two games that it has at least two different ways to win games.

After dropping 142 points on Mississippi Valley State in the season opener, the Razorbacks went into grind mode on Saturday to take a 69-54 victory over North Texas.

Wednesday night's nonconference home game could be a tougher test for Arkansas, even though Texas-Arlington is 1-2. The Mavericks gave Oklahoma State (3-0) a legitimate 40-minute test in their season opener before falling 75-68. Texas-Arlington has recorded more steals (31) than turnovers (27) in three games.

"The thing with Arlington is they're a high-steal team, they create turnovers and they take good care of the basketball," Razorbacks coach Eric Musselman said. "I think they've doubled up their opponents in steals so far."

In his second year at Arkansas, Musselman is retooling. The Razorbacks returned just three players from a team that surprised many around the Southeastern Conference last season by winning their first eight games and finishing 20-12.

But with a top-five recruiting class and guys like Desi Sills, a second-team preseason All-SEC pick, on hand, Arkansas shouldn't have much, if any, dropoff.

And much in the mold of his father, Bill, Eric Musselman isn't one to hunt excuses from lowered expectations or a pandemic.

For instance, take his analysis from the first two games, in which the Razorbacks have shot 50.4 percent from the field, 41.9 percent on 3-pointers and 72.9 percent at the foul line.

"We have left way, way too many layups on the board," he said. "I don't think in a two-game sample size, I've ever seen a team miss so many shots at the rim. When you get a guy on your hip, you have to be able to finish. You can't look for a whistle. You have to finish."

As for the Mavericks, they're coming off their first win, an 80-71 victory on Saturday over Northwestern (La.) State in a tournament at Louisiana Tech. Five players finished in double figures, led by 15 points from Shahada Wells.

One potential trouble spot for Texas-Arlington is a lack of size. It usually doesn't play anyone taller than 6-7, and 7-foot-3 Arkansas sophomore Connor Vanover is coming off a 16-rebound, six-blocked shot game Saturday. The California transfer is also averaging 14.5 points and 12 boards through two games.

--Field Level Media

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